1. TRASNOCHE, Sexteto Tango
2. SI TE VIERA GARAY, Eladia Blasquez
4. LA CLAVADA, Gran Quinteto Real
5. MI NOCHE TRISTE, Sexteto Tango with Raul Lavie
6. GUAPO Y VARON, Edmundo Rivero


Although the dance known as the tango originated in Argentina, the word didn’t. In 1786, a full century before the emergence of the tango dance in Argentina, the word was being equated with dancing the bamboula in New Orleans. This is the first time the word ‘tango’ appeared in print. Reacting to a complain from Bishop Cyrillo about Africans dancing the bamboula on Sabath, Governor Miro ordered that “los tangos o bailes de negros (the tango, that is, the black’s dance) be delayed until after vespers.

In 1803 the dictionary of the Spanish Royal Academy used tango as a variant of tangano , the stone that is used in the game of the same name.

In 1835, Esteban Pichardo, in his dictionary of Cuban voices defined tango as a meeting of blacks born in Africa to dance to the sound of drums.

In Buenos Aires they called tango to the houses where the black performed their dances.

At the beginning of the nineteenth century the town hall of Montevideo certified the presence of candombes to which it called indistinctly tambos or tangos, prohibiting them for the sake of public morality, and severely, punishing its practitioners.

By 1899 the dictionary of the Spanish Royal Academy added a second definition, celebration and dance of blacks or town folks in America.

The use of the word tango also has origins in some African towns. The slave driver called tango the rendezvous points of slaves in Africa and America.

The Argentine society remained relatively unchanged until 1860 as far as great transformations of the population. It was averse to changes and it had inherited from Spain its conservative nature. The traditional idea was that the nobles couldn’t engage in manual labor, and besides leisure, they ought to dedicate themselves to religious or military activities.

When the children of these native Spaniards took over the governmental functions after the revolution of 1810, they could not change the deep ideology of the dominant class and they only could produce to the social structure lawyers, doctors, clergymen or businessmen.

This brought upon the idea of seeking the arrival of European contingents who could sustain the Argentine development.

The constitutional text of 1853 indicated, “the federal government would foment European immigration and may not restrict, limit nor burden with taxes the entrance in the Argentine territory of foreigners who come to work the land, improve the industries and introduce the sciences and the arts.”

That ingenuous vision of immigration faced reality real soon. The idyllic Europeans that incarnated the values of the civilization did not choose the path of immigration. Those who risked a trip of such magnitude to look for a better destiny were those because of their enormous misery left extremely poor places like Galicia in Spain, Naples, Genoa and the island of Sicily in Italy.

Instead of cult Florentines able to enjoy the works of the Dante, or Spaniards readers of Don Quijote, the souls who arrived in Buenos Aires were generally illiterates, without profession nor trade, who had not had any contact with the millenarian cultures of their countries.

They were men for whom the museums were places prohibited like they were for the gauchos of the Pampas, men who faced a feudal social structure where the land was already distributed among the hands of a few landowners.

The reaction of the oligarchy to the potential political effect of these popular masses was to persecute them. Many displeased immigrants returned to their countries. Others, in spite of being the targets of ridicule and tirades stayed. They did not have another option. They became Argentines and built the country.

They also gave the tango their enormous contribution. They made it nostalgic and melancholic, as the uprooting always is.

Thus, as the Spaniards brought to Argentina their taste for the theater, the Italians contributed their musical passion, their good ear and theirs love for singing.

  1. Amanda says:

    Muchas gracias Alberto.

    That’s great. It makes my renegade tango all the more fun.

    I think I met you in San Francisco a number of years ago whne I used to
    hang out with Victor. If so, it’s nice to know you are behind
    Planet-Tango. If not thanks for the delicious little fact.


  2. Jackie says:

    We love your broadcasts, Alberto…Your passion about tango is truly contagious.


  3. Ilona says:

    Found this historic information about tango sent in by Alberto Paz
    EXTREMELY INTERESTING, as I love both tango and the traditional delta
    blues and jazz of New Orleans which is my favorite American
    city. Ilona Matkovszki

  4. Donna says:

    Hola Alberto!!!

    I have enjoyed your website and all you have contributed to Argentine Tango……Let me tell you I have learned alot from you over the years….Muchos muchos gracias!

    The reason why I am writing to you is that I have recently (32 days ago) launched an online Argentine Tango community. I now have 147 members and am averaging about 1200 hits per week, most of my members are from the Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania areas, many are new to tango and (less than 3 yrs) and have no idea that your wonderful, insightful, website even exists. I would be honored and most grateful if you would join (free of course), it only takes a few minutes and you could share your wonderful website and knowledge with those who are already members.

    Thank you so very much
    Donna Voller

  5. Miguel says:

    Hola Alberto; Mi nombre es Miguel, vivo en Melbourne Australia ya hace 30 y tantos años y debido a la nostalgia por nuestra Argentina y por el tango tambien, me dedique a coleccionar todo lo referente al tango, ya sea musica y peliculas, tambien programas como grandes valores del tango, en unos de esos programas , un dia estaba de vacaciones en Bs As y grabe en Solo Tango, el titulo de tu post, El Tango Cuenta su Historia, si!!, lo tengo en video, si estas interesado o si no lo tenes, te hago una copia y te lo envio donde me digas. Un abrazo y muy bueno toda tu informacion acerca de la historia del tango. Tambien tengo entre muchas mas una pelicula que se lla ma la historia del tango, trabaja Fernado Lamas. Salud.

    • Hola Miguel,

      Que placer conocerte, mucho gusto.
      Nos encantaria recibir l copia del video.
      Aqui esta la direccion postal,

      Alberto Paz
      808 Washington Ave
      New Orleans, LA 70130

      Muchas gracias,

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